Crying about the thought of going to work tomorrow

(76 Posts)
RequiresImprovement Thu 23-May-13 14:38:48

I am a PT teacher in a very challenging secondary school. I only started teaching there last september. I have had issues with behaviour management from the start, not helped by the fact that I have been given exclusively bottom sets to teach. I was told by everyone that the kids there like to push new staff, and push they most certainly have. Support from SMT is poor, staff moral as a whole is rock bottom and the head teacher is a bully. Because of a single poor observation I was put on a teacher intervention problem and seem to be being observed constantly. I take on board everything they tell me but it never seems to get any better. I feel completely dejected and my self confidence is destroyed. I am sitting here sobbing with my heart pounding out of my chest at the thought of going there tomorrow. I feel physically sick.

I am not a new teacher, I have taught successfully in challenging environments previously. Until I took this job I had had a successful career. I have resigned but the thought of working out my notice terrifies me. I need some coping strategies please xxx

requiresimprovement Mon 03-Jun-13 23:56:10

Hi all, the Drs went okay as these things go. She was lovely. I cried and shook and she has signed me off for two weeks. She has put down anxiety as the reason. I should feel relieved but instead I am just sad, still shaky and still really scared about going back in two weeks time. She offered me medication to help but I have refused that in the short term hoping that time off will help. I have another appointment to see her again next week. The thing is that everything else in my life is fine, it really is just work. I even cried sending the email to say I was signed off, knowing that I will be being talked about all over school tomorrow.

SheerWill your head sounds awful. Why do people have to make others feel so bad? What do they get out of it. Has it always been bad or have things changed recently? I am absolutely dreading having to actually speak to someone at school about why I am not there. I know they are going to make me feel like its because I am not competent, but I know I was good at this job before I worked there. My self confidence is so destroyed I'm not sure I'll ever be good at it again.

I also have another job lined up for September and if that doesn't work I'm going to be right next to SheerWill on the checkouts. Have you taken time off SheerWill or have you just got through with medication? I don't know what citalopram does. Has it been helpful? I'm not sure I can continue to feel like this, with my heart almost beating out of my chest and feeling fearful all the time.

Empross, hope you are hanging in there too.

deleted203 Mon 03-Jun-13 23:59:53

I'm really pleased your Dr signed you off. Teaching is horrendously stressful at the best of times, and your situation sounded dreadful. If you have a new job lined up for Sept I would not stress about returning to your current school. Go back to your GP in 2 weeks time (or before) and say that you cannot face it. I would be signed off for the rest of this academic year and looking towards starting afresh in a better school in September.

Good luck and take care of yourself.

requiresimprovement Tue 04-Jun-13 00:31:15

Thank you soworn, your name is how we all feel I think. Does anyone know what implication being signed off for that long has on future job prospects? Will I have to declare it on future applications? I don't know anything about sick pay either. Would I get paid over summer? Sorry too many questions. Thank you everyone for your support, it means ever such a lot.

Empross76 Tue 04-Jun-13 00:44:32

That's great news, RequiresImprovement. Am sure the time off will help. I know what you mean about worrying about what happens after the sick note runs out and second the opinion that you should aim for remainder of the term off. For your own sanity! That way you can focus on yourself and regaining your confidence before your new job in September.
Also know what you mean about worrying about what's being said about you. I've had very few people at school asking after me, and I've been off since week 2 of this term. The people who have been in touch have been lovely, mind, but I can just imagine the sort of tutting going on from some of the others.
Thanks for asking after me - I'm pootling along. Signed off for June, prob be for rest of term as think it's best all round. Upped my dosage of Citalopram and having good days and not-so-good days. Feeling anxious about what happens when the sick note runs out and that if I go back it will only be matter of time before I run myself into the ground again. Feels like I'm locked in a cycle. That's stopping me from getting the benefit of no school for a while. Am expecting a call from Occupational Health soon and am hoping that they may be able to tell me if I do have any options regarding school. In my dream world I get early retirement or redundancy or something that still lets me take home my current wage. Hah! Think I may be disappointed.
I have to face the playground tomorrow - my DD goes to the school I teach at. She was going in early to Breakfast Club before now so that I could avoid being seen in school whilst off ill, but she's been upset about me being off so am going to bite the bullet and take her in as normal tomorrow.
Really nervous of seeing parents and pupils. And maybe getting some awkward questions.
Mind you, my self esteem tells me they won't even notice so I'm sure it will be fine!
Keep posting, and let me know how you get on. You too, SheerWill.
X.

Empross76 Tue 04-Jun-13 00:46:43

My understanding of sick pay is 6 months full pay NOT including the school holidays - it's six months of the teaching year. And then six on half pay.
Don't know anything about declaring sick leave on job applications.

deleted203 Tue 04-Jun-13 01:01:57

I wouldn't worry about the sick leave, personally, RI. Although I'm not an expert I think as you have a job in Sept then in future you would simply put on job applications,

taught at (shithole school) from x - July 2013.

taught at (hopefully nice school) from Sept 2013 - x

If you resigned by 31 May then you should be paid until Aug 31st by current school. And you can take 6 months sick leave on full pay.

Empross I would not give a monkey's about what other people think, personally. The important thing is your own health and sanity. If anyone is rude enough to ask questions I would arch a faint eyebrow at them and say mildly, 'I'm afraid I am having health problems' before moving on. Hopefully leaving them feeling rude for having asked. Don't think about having to go back - as you know it is unproductive. Focus on yourself, and take care. smile

requiresimprovement Tue 04-Jun-13 21:30:38

Thank you guys for your help with the sick leave thing. Should I phone my union do you think or just leave it? I'm not doing very well at the whole phone thing. I hated using it before this all happened so have become almost phobic since.

My head phoned this evening but I didn't speak to her. I knew I would have a massive breakdown on the phone. I feel sick and shaky just thinking about it. She makes me incredibly nervous at the best of times. I have emailed her instead saying that I don't feel well enough to talk to her on the phone and outlining very basically what has happened (had a panic attack and have been signed off - did not mention school). I hope that was the best thing to do and that I don't have to speak to her again.

Empross - how did the playground go today, you okay? Any word from OH?
SheerWill - are you hanging in there? Soworn, thanks for the support.

Catbert4pm Tue 04-Jun-13 22:04:27

Poor you.

Lots of sensible suggestions here. Can I suggest that you talk to a suitable counsellor as well as taking meds? I think this can be arranged by the Doctor, or privately, or does your employer offer an employee assistance programme? This is usually a free-to-employee, confidential service.

I do think you need to talk to a professional. The meds should help, but there is nothing like the personal touch.

Bless you and good luck.

Empross76 Tue 04-Jun-13 22:11:44

I hate phoning in sick as well - I get flustered and feel like they're doubting me and trying to catch me out. Much prefer to email and have the opportunity to get my words right. It's our school's policy to phone in re sickness so I just do both!
I've been very lucky to have a supportive HT, which has helped a lot.
Don't think contacting your union can do any harm, but maybe not necessary - if you've got a new job for Sep then am sure being signed off by GP will suffice.
Thanks for asking after me. The playground run seemed to go fine. Think I'll need to do a few more before the fear goes away though. No news from OH yet. Had a reasonable day - it amazes me how up and down I can be in 24 hours! Would love a bit of consistency!
Hope everyone else on here is doing fine. X.

Catbert4pm Tue 04-Jun-13 22:19:51

And please on't let this sh*t define you..... how about changing your MN name? "RequiresImprovement" - that could apply for all of us 'orrible mortals! How about something more positive to recognise that you are taking the right steps - you've resigned; and been to the GP smile

SheerWill Wed 05-Jun-13 22:57:37

Hi just checking in having just stopped work. I’m glad you’re taking some time out requires. I did get help from my union. I’m with NASUWT and found their support invaluable. I moved to them as they really helped my mum. I was previously with NUT, but the Swindon guy was reluctant to take on case work.
I was signed off for two months after my HT rigged my PM so I would be able to get threshold, even though I’ve been eligible to apply for 2 years based on evidence from my previous school. She did everything to block me from applying and when I did it anyway she gave me a shit pm review.
It totally tipped me over the edge and I was crying in her office uncontrollably – she told me I was being unprofessional. I went home and got a dr appointment. I was also initially reluctant to take medication. I was going to try St John’s wort as it’s a natural anti-depressant, but it affects the effectiveness of the pill and the last thing I needed was a pregnancy as well as the troubles at school. Now I’m taking 40mg of citalopram a day and I have to say the first two weeks were really horrible, but now I can get through the day feeling like the plates are still just about spinning. Like Empross said, you have good days and not so good days, but I don’t often get the bad days anymore, where I physically can’t’ bare to leave my bed. Occy health were great and arranged for me to have 4 free counselling sessions. The councillor I saw was so good I now pay to see her once a month to offload and that really helps. She’s made me realise my HT behaves the way she does for control, she has the issues not me and I need to try and maintain my dignity and not become intimidated by her if I can.

Not easy though. As part of my PM targets I was meant to deliver TA training on our calculation policy. On the first day I returned to work after being ill, we had a TD day at another school. While we were there I learnt that HT was at school delivering this training to the TAs. So I went out of my way to arrange maths training for the TAs about the changes to the curriculum and she came in a watched!! I felt so nervous and didn’t feel brave enough to do the fun activities I’d planned just in case she didn’t approve. She’d never sat in to watch AHTs do TA training. She’s just such a bitch. Oh well, only 32 more days of her to go.

So wish I could get out early – I’d love to have time to build my confidence back up before the new job in September.

A family I really like just lost the mum to terminal cancer, leaving a lovely dad and three fab kids. It's made me realise more than ever how silly life is getting and how much more important it is to be healthy in my head, as well as my body. If I had a broken leg people would be giving me symphathy, but because my illness is in my head I'm made to feel stupid, as if it's my fault. It's not our fault - our employers have a duty of care and they're failing to manage us properly.

requiresimprovement Wed 05-Jun-13 23:27:36

Oh Sheerwill, I almost cried reading your post. Everything you said rings true. I lost a true and good friend who left a young family behind and I often think of her when things are hard. The important people are the people in my heart, not the ones judging me and making my life impossible to bear.

I think you are very brave to be able to go back to a school where so many crappy things happened to you. I'm not sure I'm going to get to that point (being brave enough to go back). Regardless of what happens, we are both outta there soon! Why can't you get out early? If you are having to take that many pills just to get through the day then surely that is not good for your health?

I am doing fine at the moment and so feel a bit like a fraud having time off. However I had to get a friend to check my email today as I was shaking at the thought and burst into tears while she was doing it at the thought of what might be there. While I feel okay away from work the very thought of going there makes me hyperventilate and feel sick. Am I over reacting? I just hope that my new school is better and that it really is the school (and most importantly the management) that is crap and not me. That is my real fear now. My head teacher now knows exactly why I have been signed off and as a result, knowing how indiscreet she is, so will the whole school. I haven't had any messages to ask how I am. Think I may have if, as you say, I'd had a broken leg!

Thank you all so much for a place to speak and be listened too x

requiresimprovement Wed 05-Jun-13 23:48:19

And I should have said thank you so much for sharing about all the unacceptable things your HT has done and the path you have taken. It helps me so much to know I am not the only one dealing with awful SMT, though not to know that other people are having to put up with shite like this. You sound like a fabulous teacher. I hope you get the time to rebuild your confidence before September.

SheerWill Sun 09-Jun-13 15:51:11

Thanks for the complement, I certainly don’t feel brave. I feel more and more like I’ve given in to my principles to be a strong minded person, who stands up for what is right. Everyday I’m in there I want to tell her that she’s making people’s lives unbearable, but she only has to walk into the room and I’m a gibbering wreck. The reason I’m back in is because I wanted to be back at work while applying for new jobs. Now I’m back I remember how much I love working with my class and I love the performing arts – so the Year 5/6 production of Joseph gives me a creative outlet I enjoy.

When I first went off – I felt like a fraud. But you’re recovering from a serious condition that takes time to heal. I found I couldnt concentrate on anything and would fidget and fiddle with things, or potter about tidying up (that’s when I made it out of bed). I started doing cross stitch so that I felt I’d achieved something with my day – I made xmas decorations for the tree. I also helped out my friend over the road, who’s just had a new born and was grateful for someone to help out while she had a quick nap/shower etc.

I visited my new school Wednesday to give in some paperwork and they told me about 2 dates they’d like me to do for my induction. HT has said I can only do 1 unless they pay for cover (I was kinda expecting that) despite me having at least 3 days in her school when I first moved there from my previous school. I’ve given so much, but she’s co controlling. I will now miss the year 6 induction day – and my new role is to work with the SEN Y7 children for English and Maths. I’ll also have a tutor group so that’s a real shame.

I should probab;y get back to my planning and Big Writing marking. My wonderful dp and ds have gone out for a nice walk in the sunshine, so I should make the most of the peace and quiet. SW x

SheerWill Sun 09-Jun-13 15:53:39

I hate Sundays :-(

requiresimprovement Mon 10-Jun-13 00:39:09

SW, I love that you have a wonderful dp and ds! I am so lucky to have a have a fabulous family too and they are what made me realise that I can't put my health at risk for a stupid crappy job and a stupid crappy SMT. This has all come as such a massive shock to me as everything else in my life is fine (better than fine, and I really don't mean to gloat, just to put it into perspective. I really know how lucky I am to have such a loving family).

I'm so glad you still have the relationships and professional satisfaction from working with your classes. Unfortunately, although I know there are some stunning kids who deserve the best in the classes I taught, the majority made my life hell and as a result I couldn't give the kids that deserved it what they needed. I hope they get that in the future, though I'm not sure. I tried my absolute hardest and when that wasn't enough I went to crap...

I'm also kind of glad to hear that you felt like "fraud" too. It make me feel less on my own with this shit. (I'm sure these are the wrong words) Away from that school and thinking about that school I am okay(ish). But the very thought of going back there makes my want to vomit. My heart races, I cry and I don't feel like I could ever walk in there again sad I still can't check my email and am terrified that even if my sick note is extended I will have to speak to my HT. I went shopping recently and saw someone that looked like her from the back and had to get back into my car and hyperventilate for a while. Not good.

I have a drs appointment tomorrow. Last time I saw the dr I was in such a state. I'm not sure what will happen tomorrow. Am terrified she will say I am well enough to go to work. Even without work tomorrow I still get that sunday night feeling sad

Empross and all others feeling like us, hope you are okay x

kickassangel Mon 10-Jun-13 01:48:26

I felt like this in my old job. Then I didn't work for a couple of years and now I work in a private school for gifted kids with some quite pushy parents. Guess what? I'm fine. It really was being in the wrong school, not me that made it so hard.

Do check the regs about missing the end of term, you may need to be in school for the last day.

You can go direct to LEA HR rather than have any contact with your school. This applies to reasons for absence AND checking rules about time off.

You can also insist that no-one from school contacts you as it can constitute harassment.

Get better and don't feel guilty.

Empross76 Mon 10-Jun-13 08:21:25

Yep, another 'fraud' here! Rings so true!
DD attends the school I teach at - the local school - so even signed off from work I still have a lot of contact with work - the building, the staff, the parents, the kids. So it doesn't feel like a proper break from school.
Got first OH meeting tomorrow. A bit nervous as don't know what to expect!
Sheer and Requires - I hope the time off is helping. And knowing that you're not alone!

SoTiredAgain Mon 10-Jun-13 14:05:34

I'm so sorry that you are all going through such a horrible time.

I think a lot of HTs and SMT have a lot to answer for. When I was doing my NQT a few years ago, I went on maternity leave and came back to finish my year off but there was a new head teacher who had started whilst I was on maternity leave. The change in the school atmosphere was dramatic. She had favourites who could do no wrong and then there was the rest of us. She made our lives hell and she tried to fail me and another NQT. The amount of scrutiny was unbearable. I felt like a lot of you did - I really felt sick, anxious and desperate, especially as I needed that NQT. It got very messy and in the end I left as did 3 others (all bullied out) all at the same time and I have heard others have been pushed out. The LA and the unions were crap, I've got to say. Everyone in the LA know what she is like but are unable to do anything.

For a long time I had no confidence as a teacher but I somehow finished my NQT at another school but I never got a permanent job as I could not cope with the scrutiny, the pressure and the workload (and i dont think i was employable because it actually took me 5 and a half terms to finish my NQT). I have been doing supply since I finished my NQT. If the SMT come into the room whilst I am teaching, I just freeze up.

Funnily, I have been doing maternity cover at a school I really like and they are making noises about having me back. So, I'm not such a bad teacher then. I won't be taking up the offer though, I'm leaving the profession.

Sorry for such a long post and I still have a bit to add. grin

My partner is also a secondary school teacher and who is going through a tough time. He is just about managing to go to school but he's not sleeping, he gets really anxious and he is depressed. I finally persuaded him to see his doctor and he now has an appt with a counsellor. Hopefully, it will help him. He refuses to take AD.

MissSparrow Mon 10-Jun-13 20:08:16

Just wanted to say hi, and say I hope all of you who are having a hard time are doing okay.

Requires, I hope all goes well at Drs tomorrow - honestly, if you're feeling panicky just at the thought of bumping into your HT then I can't imagine ANY Dr telling you you're well enough to work! Would you print out some of this thread to show her?

Well done to you all for having the guts to realise something's wrong and for doing something positive about it - it mightn't feel like it, but it IS brave to take the time off to get better rather than force yourself through a situation that is making you feel this way x

requiresimprovement Tue 11-Jun-13 23:51:47

Have seen Dr and have been signed off for a month. I am glad I don't have to go back at the minute but so sad it has come to this. Have had a really bad day today. My school phoned this afternoon to ask about reports and I blocked my ears and hid in another room crying as they left a message. Have emailed them to say I can't complete them. How did I get in such a state? Instead of feeling better about being signed off I am feeling worse. Have consistently turned down medication but wondering if its the right thing to do. I am not depressed but anxious. I don't know anything about anxiety medication but I don't think I can keep feeling this panicky, heart pounding feeling all the time.Sigh.

Hope everyone else is okay, sorry not to respond more. Thank you all for all the support on this thread

Snazzywaitingforsummer Wed 12-Jun-13 00:08:27

Did you say you were in the union? If so maybe email them (if you are phone-phobic right now) and explain the situation and ask for advice on handling things like the requests for reports. Also they might be able to offer counselling or something like an anti-bullying line where you could talk all this through with someone.

kickassangel Wed 12-Jun-13 00:47:08

Your school are NOT allowed to phone you to ask about work. That is harassment!

Get onto union or LEA HR person. You can insist that they do not contact you at all until you say otherwise. It sounds like they really haven't a clue about the responsibilities of an employer.

So sorry for you, my first paragraph is frustration at them for being so incompetent or cruel that even when you're off sick they can't have the decency to give you some space.

Get some advice from someone who knows more about this than us random strangers, but you may want to send an email to someone sympathetic (HoD or HoY) saying that you really are too ill to answer the phone or do any work or even to talk about work. You have a dictor's note to verify this and you would like some respect for this.

If they continue, then you could sue them. I doubt you want to do that, but they are being completed idiots.

VenusUprising Wed 12-Jun-13 01:28:34

As a parent of a child in a school with a bullying and controlling and actually downright malicious HT, I can entirely sympathise.

We have mass resignations from the parents assoc and we only have to meet her once a month. She gets all the new teachers and admin staff to lie for her and do her dirty work, while she slanders and libels the parents and is persistently hostile. Just hate going in to the school as she's such a bitch. A bad HT can break a school.

No doubt when you are in a supportive school where you can actually teach, you'll all be fine.

Best of luck to you all, and down with bullies! I'm dreading September, and I'm not employed by her, so I feel for you - it's not right what you're all going through. Have a great summer, and start again in September!

Empross76 Wed 12-Jun-13 08:34:59

So sorry, Requires.

I second the advice to write off this term and your current school and use the time to rest and recuperate before September when hopefully a nurturing environment will make you feel more your old self again.

Yes, contact union, HR, GP... anyone who can speak to HT and your current school to make sure they leave you the hell alone.

Occupational Health may be worth contacting - you can self-refer. I saw them for the first time yesterday and, I must say, they were fab. They have access to counselling and all sorts, too.

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